2 years ago we embarked on a brave journey to create a new type of music discovery layer – a location based one. Basically we wanted people to share and discover new Spotify playlists and Soundcloud sets connected to specific geographic locations – may it be the city’s coolest night club, a secret beach or your girlfriend’s apartment. Much simplified Tunaspot was a mash-up of Foursquare, Google maps, Soundcloud and Spotify.
It worked out quite great – within a year we had almost 100,000 users tagging their favorite spots with music, the nostalgic music memories of a certain vacation place as well as the playlist for the upcoming shows at some of Scandinavia’s top concert venues.
The Spotify desktop app would allow you to explore the world, tuning in to the different location on the Tunaspot global map. While the mobile apps were made for true location based discover giving a user an opportunity to pre-listen to all the cool nightclubs and bars around him while heading out for an all-nigher in Berlin.
Now, another year later we decided to close down the service as we found our user base growing too slow and us being both out of resources and energy. It’s better to fail fast. To be honest with you and with ourselves we realized we would need to get 2M+ active users to get into the major league. With revenues per listener getting smaller and smaller most of the music industry business models today are all about reaching millions of users / streams.
If you are building a fast growing start-up in music scene, please consider this. We hope it can help.
Choose your battle. There are not so many business model options in the music industry. Go either for a simple product that will generate revenue from day one OR find a simple feature that will attract many users and grow your user-base quickly and exponentially. Don’t go for both at the same time. Really, focus on a minimal viable product.
Better ask for forgiveness than for permission. Music industry is a jungle of rules and laws and agreements. What is ok according to PRS might not be according to IFPI. What is ok for Deezer might not be ok for Spotify since they might have different agreements with the labels. The rule of the thumb – if you are generating PR and / or revenue for an artist or label and not promoting piracy – then go for it. As long as you keep everyone happy nobody will really give a damn if you are allowed to do what you are doing or not. Once you grow bigger the industry will make sure to change the rules so they can turn your gray zone into a proper business model.
PR is everything. PR gives you new registered users that can be then converted into paying users. Make sure to appear in so many contexts as possible. Even better, get a big name artist aboard as the PR figure for your music service.
Measure everything. Get all the data, don’t lose a single user.
Make life as easy as possible for the end user. Ever additional step, additional field to fill in, additional login, additional app to download doubles the churn rate in every step. Make it as damn simple as possible.
Have a lot of fun. We did.
Many thanks for the Recurity Labs and Innovationsbron for believing in our bold ideas and investing in us.
Please don’t hesitate to drop us an email if you have questions, need advice or just want to chat. The Tunaspot team can be reached here:
Alex Esser firstname.lastname@example.org
Alexander Liljengård email@example.com
Andreas Nilsson firstname.lastname@example.org
Christian Nilsson email@example.com
Erik Stenberg firstname.lastname@example.org
Stefan Fisk email@example.com
Per Winroth firstname.lastname@example.org
Behrang Kianzad email@example.com
Tunaspot Team signing off. <3